MLK Day means more than a three-day weekend

Marchae Grair

Never underestimate the power of a dream.

On Aug. 28 in 1963, one man shared his dream with a nation consumed in racial turmoil. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped to a podium in Washington D.C. and believed his words were enough to end racial segregation in America.

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington was one of the most important moments in the Civil Rights Movement. He gave his hope for the future and shared his vision of an America with no racial injustice.

King famously said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

This April will be the 40th anniversary of King’s assassination, and 40 years has not come with much progression.

Most people will do nothing more than sleep in Monday on the holiday set aside to honor King’s memory.

Somewhere between the March on Washington and today, people have gained a dangerous apathy toward race relations in America.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 may have ended legal segregation based on race, but it definitely did not end racism.

Look no further than Kent State. Last semester, a highly visible university sign was vandalized with the “n-word” on it, and rumors swirled about a noose being hung in a faculty member’s office.

The Daily Kent Stater and the KSU-NAACP thought it would be appropriate to respond by sponsoring a forum for students of every race to address race relations on campus.

Other than the Stater and NAACP student panels, the discussion room was practically empty. Students were very angry about the racial tension at Kent State, but when it came time to discuss solutions to campus racism, neither white nor black students were anywhere to be found.

As a generation, we have forgotten that combating racism is a continuous fight. It is encouraging to see people rally behind events such as the injustice in Jena, but it should not take a noose or a vandal to make people examine the lack of racial equality that still persists.

The race problems that exist in America today are almost more frightening than problems of the past because they are more easily ignored.

Schools may no longer be legally segregated, but inner-city schools packed with minority students lack the quality space and resources their students need to succeed.

A black child is three times more likely than a white child to grow up poor, according to

With poverty lines separating us now as much as race did in the ’60s, how far have we really come?

King’s death informally gave every American the responsibility to try to carry on his fight against the color line. We need to rediscover his urgency for racial equality and work to make King’s dream a reality.

Marchae Grair is a sophomore electronic media productions major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].